The Vegetable Garden Beautification Project

…or VGBP

Among my gardens is this place that is full of boxes of dirt (a.k.a. the vegetable garden). Last year I decided to make it into something pretty. To that end, I began the Vegetable Garden Beautification Project.  (Note: I like to shorten the formal project name to “the VGBP” because Mr. O forgets what the letters stand for and it makes him crazy.)

VGBP large bed

Here, in a corner portion of the Project, is the great big wild bed full of native shrubs that will get too big. (It’s okay because I know they will get too big so it isn’t an ignorant gardener problem it is some other sort of problem which I will talk about later, like never.)

clarifying notations

So you can see here in this next photo, with the fun-for-me clarifying arrows, that in the VGBP big bed we have both Red Currant (Ribes sanguineum) and Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) bushes, growing like mad.  (I love Ninebark and it’s a piece of cake to start from cuttings, so I have planted it everywhere. I just counted and I have seven of them scattered around and when they all get big I will have to move away.)

Also in this VGBP bed around back, as clearly labeled in the photo, is a kind of fern elementary school, where ferns are taken when they are small, and they have recess every day and art on Fridays, and then when they are bigger I carry them around in the wheelbarrow (they love that) and find a new place for them somewhere.

And then I replace them with new baby ferns. The Plant Goddess gives the new ones to me, or I dig them out of the foundation of the greenhouse where I have an accidental fernery as mentioned on my Greenhouse page which you might have avoided reading so far but eventually we all have to face stuff.


big terracotta pot

So there are ferns, and then there is an enormous pot I found at Goodwill for $9.99 so of course I bought it but also of course with no idea where it would end up.


Okay I bought TWO identical big pots from Goodwill, but I’m going to save the second one for later because it’s outside the scope of this post–we have rules around here you know!  I will however mention the astonishing fact that I can relocate these enormous pots, even when they are full of dirt, with the help of Mr.O’s handcart and with Max barking and nipping at the wheels the whole time– you should see it, very exciting, almost like a parade.


Vegetable Garden Beautification teepee

Also last year I did have quite a successful VGBP teepee, except the Black-eyed Susan vines that were supposed to climb up didn’t (acrophobia I think) but then the calendula plants got a lot taller than I expected so it was okay. (Yes the teepee thing began last year.)

rose garden feature

And when I discontinued the rose garden (just like a sitcom) I did save some of the old roses and now they are a Rose Feature along the edge of the VGBP.

vegetable garden June

Here’s about half the garden today. You can see the lettuces in their netted community, and the semi-famous bed-spring cucumber trellis with English cucumbers already grabbing on. There are about four tiny sunflower plants sort of center back but you can’t actually see them in this picture (just as well), and you can’t see the rust growing on the garlic very well either. (I did NOT let in cattle to eat the rust– I used a homemade baking soda and water treatment instead.  I maybe should have gone for the cows, there isn’t a lot of improvement.)


I went to France in July once, and there were fields of sunflowers, farms of them. It was like a fairy tale. Since then I have tried over and over to grow sunflowers in my gardens. They tend to be bug-eaten and short, or bug-eaten and tall and elongated and skinny and falling over.

I do observe sunflowers in odd places out in the world, growing in thick masses on roadsides or out of compost piles. I saw one blooming in the middle of a gravel road once…

sunflower and Westie

Here’s Max making the sunflower look good last summer. In reality it was ONE bloom on a weak stem that wanted to fall over from the beginning.  But the flowers are fun like bubbly champagne or a beach party. So I started some more this year for the VGBP, and now they are out there with the vegetables.


peas attack sunflower

Don’t trust peas. Even as you read this they are perpetrating an unprovoked attack on my best sunflower plant. (I captured a shot of it for you, just like an embedded war correspondent.) Don’t repeat this, but: I think the vegetables hate the VGBP.


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
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14 Responses to The Vegetable Garden Beautification Project

  1. Wonderful garden! And your post made me laugh in spots. I happen to like your overgrown areas…they look lush and natural. My favorite photo was the one with Max and the sunflower…lovely!

  2. linniew says:

    Good morning Butterfly!
    With luck (a lot of luck actually) there may be more Max/sunflower photo ops this summer. Thanks for “lush and natural” — very kind!

  3. Aimee says:

    I love the overgrown garden, the fern elementary school, and Max upstaging the sunflower. That cucumber trellis – WOW!!! It’s spectacular. I’m drooling here at my desk at work. Glad to see some of those roses graduated to another border – they look great. I’m eager to see what happens with big orange container #2.

    • linniew says:

      Oh oh, hope you have a towel handy.
      Stay tuned for the big orange pot sequel.
      Max sends his best regards to your three lovely meows (that is “kitties” at our house).

  4. Grace says:

    Well your VGBP project seems to be coming along VERY nicely. I love the Elementary School concept. I might have to borrow it, if you don’t mind. Cute teepee even if the plan didn’t work out as you had originally hoped. Great post! I’ll keep my eyes on my peas. Thanks for the warning.

  5. Sheila Read says:

    I am realizing how deceptive garden photography can be. The one bending-over sunflower looks great. Don’t turn your back on the peas!

  6. linniew says:

    Yeah I just photographed the pretty part of the plant which as it happened was about the same size as Max’s head.

  7. Cathy says:

    As usual, your post is a delight. I always enjoy my morning coffee more when I have your blog to read. (MUCH better than the newspaper!)

  8. p3chandan says:

    A lovely post with moments of hahaha…here and there! The small little corner in the first phota is not bad looking, very creative…gave me some ideas for my small garden too. I wonder if I can do the same with the square wooden boxes on the river bank outside my backyard…The only thing is they will be washed away when the river overflows its bank and my plants too!

    • linniew says:

      Welcome p3! It must be nice to have a river close but I see there could be flooding issues. Although there are a few of my vegetable boxes that could wash away and I wouldn’t miss them too much…Thanks for visiting from faraway Malaysia!

  9. Sarah says:

    What a beautiful garden you have! I love your trellis with the calendula in the middle, I think it is calendula, and particularly the cuke trellis, as I am searching for a new trellis myself.

  10. linniew says:

    It is like finding treasure to realize that some limb or piece of wire fence or rusty bed spring is actually EXACTLY what you need for some use. I hate to buy new things… The old stuff is experienced and knows more what to do, or is haunted by some wise ghost or otherwise enhanced by time.— I just peeked at your blog Sarah; it’s terrific!

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